Sunday, February 13, 2011

Walker ignores other options, puts burden on public service employees

Governor Scott Walker's assault on public service employees is meeting with some friction. The Wisconsin blogosphere is noticeably outraged by the turn of events. At an event in Horicon workers protested in front of a state senator's home, with some witnesses stating they heard chants of "Egypt got it right." And protests are planned all week long in hopes of preventing the passage of the proposed bill.

Public employees, and the people of Wisconsin, are not happy.

Walker's defense is simple: it's this proposal, or cut more than 200,000 children from BadgerCare. But these aren't the only options available.

Making cuts to government alone isn't the answer. Sacrifices have to be made, but not as radical as Walker is trying to make us believe they must be.

Raising taxes on income for the wealthy a modest amount could help solve the problem. So might cutting or freezing the salaries of elected officials (including the governor's own, which ranks 19th in the country among executive branch salaries). A tiered sales tax, where extravagant charges would be taxed at a higher rate, would also benefit the state without hurting the poor and middle class of Wisconsin.

Walker isn't considering any of these ideas, nor any other like them. It's simply cut, cut, cut. Such an attitude does little to change our state's financial crisis, and does NOTHING to fix the people's personal economic difficulties. If fixing the economy AND the budget are goals of the Walker administration, why does Walker think that worsening economic conditions for public service employees will help families across the state?

Where does he get the idea that slashing pay and benefits for nurses, teachers, prison guards, even snow plow drivers, would benefit the state?

Where do the priorities of the Wisconsin GOP lie if they do indeed support Walker's vision for Wisconsin?

And how can he call this move "just" without giving the unions representing these people collective bargaining rights, rights that they have been granted for the past half-century?

The people of Wisconsin need to know: they're governor doesn't care. He simply doesn't care, especially about those who TRULY serve this state in meaningful ways. Those that perform these job functions do so knowing that their work isn't glamorous. They do it because they know it's important work to perform.

Will we allow our governor to spit in their faces, to deny them their basic rights?

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